Weaving a Ladder Back Chair Seat With Fiber Rush

8 Materials
4 Days
I had a client with a family heirloom that wanted nothing more than to have the chair seat, that went with the set I was painting, re-weaved. This client knew I like a challenge so I told her I would research how to do it. It seemed a lot like the macrame' I did back in the 70's so I told her I thought we could do it. We did it!!! You can, too. My client was overwhelmed and loved it! Follow along to see how we did it!
When I first saw the weave on this, I thought it looked very complicated. I also did not have a clue on what material to use. But I do like a challenge and I like to research new techniques, so.....research I did.
I found this awesome video by Ed Hammond from Peerless Rattan. The instructions were very good. We used it religiously as we worked on the chair we had. We did purchase a rounded stapler as he suggests and were so glad we did. We did not purchase a wedge and peg when we bought the fiber rush on Amazon and in hindsight I wish we would have. We bought the 6/32 fiber rush. It took approximately 400'. Also in hindsight, unless you are trying to match additional seats, I think the thinner 5/32 would have been easier to work with on our first try.
We jumped right in and got started, rewinding the video tutorial time and time again. As you can see in this pic, we started the weaving by stapling on the inside edges of the chair as shown in the video.
In this photo, we were starting on the rest of the chair. In the video, Ed mentions to be very careful in keeping the cord close together. I think we could have been even closer on ours. Note: Turn the TV off when working on this as your partner may be distracted by the TV at times. Just sayin'. icon
We are getting closer. You will notice we are adding the pieces of cardboard here as instructed in the video. The purpose of the cardboard is to keep the fiber rush from sagging and eventually breaking down.
Weaving is finished. The underside will not look pretty as the video mentions. You will notice the fiber rush dried very light. In my research it was mentioned that it is a good idea to use shellac on the finished seat for protection. We did that, but also wanted a darker seat, so we also stained and sealed it.
We stained and sealed the seat (after a coat of shellac) with Varathane water-based stain and sealer in dark walnut. We used two coats. This seat will now be easy to wipe clean and goes with the rest of the furniture.
The final reveal of the chair with the new fiber rush seat we created.
And here it is with the vanity table, all finished, staged, and photographed and ready to go home. This is part of a whole bedroom set we are doing for this client. I will be doing another hometalk with a tutorial on creating a suitcase chest. We took the client's chest and painted the drawers to look like suitcases. You can see the finished piece now if you'd like, by viewing many of the pieces we have painted or refurbished on our Colors Board on Pinterest. Go to the Unique Section once on the Colors Board and you'll find two suitcase chests we have done there. https://www.pinterest.com/sharsumpaint/colors/
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  • Margaret LaMar Mauney Margaret LaMar Mauney on Apr 05, 2019

    Great instructive video and beautiful end result!

  • Alice Phillips Alice Phillips on Jun 15, 2022

    I knew one day I would find someone here that would show me how to repair these chairs. I inherited a dining table and chairs like these that the chair seats were worn completely out. I didn't want to throw them away. The chairs were around when I was little and I'm 67 years old. The chairs have so much life left in them. Thank you sooo much for this post.